Dramatic Outburst at Rosetta’s Comet Just Days Before Perihelion

Rosetta's scientific camera OSIRIS show the sudden onset of a well-defined jet-like feature emerging from the side of the comet's neck, in the Anuket region.

Rosetta’s scientific camera OSIRIS shows the sudden onset of a well-defined jet-like feature emerging from the side of the comet’s neck, in the Anuket region on July 29, 2015. Copyright: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

A comet on a comet? That’s what it looks like, but you’re witnessing the most dramatic outburst ever recorded at 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the Rosetta spacecraft. The brilliant plume of gas and dust erupted on July 29 just two weeks before perihelion.

In a remarkable display of just how quickly conditions on a comet can change, the outburst lasted only about 18 minutes before fading away.(…)
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© Bob King for Universe Today, 2015. |
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